It was 6am when Sarah the Producer and I arrived at the Sitting Room, the hairdressing salon we were going to do our Motivator lives from. Ballymena was like a ghost town at that time in the morning. In most other places that I have driven around at such horribly early hours there are usually one or two hardy souls tramping the streets either working or on their way to work. I think the sensible people of Northern Ireland regard this time of the day as a time still to be tucked up in bed!!
Apart from not being able to light the salon because I had no lights with me on account of trying to keep the excess baggage costs down there were no major technical issues to deal with. Sarah had brought some radio comms kit so that there would be no cables restricting the workout.
We only had on hit at around 8:10 and a little live shot just before 8. The live shot although very quick, maybe 10 seconds of so was quite fun. I had all the hairdressers working out with everything from hair straighteners and shampoo bottles to doing leg raises whilst holding on to one of those hairdryers that looks like a brain scanner from a Sci Fi movie. They were all well up for it and it was fun to shoot and judging from the titters coming over Directors talkback in London, fun to watch.
The main hit went very well with the very lively Julienne doing a fantastic job of being enthusiastic at that time in the morning.
Sarah and I managed to get back to the hotel in time to get a bit of breakfast. I then even had time to go to the little gym and do some work on my calf muscle. Then as I was about to leave I received the call from Yiljan another Producer to confirm that the trip to the Caribbean was confirmed. The downside is that I need to go to Gatwick on Friday night because the flight to Jamaica is early on Saturday morning. It is doubly annoying because my wife and I were due to go out for dinner with friends. We had been trying to get a date to suit for ages. I am not going to be a popular man.
The drive from Ballymena to drop Sarah off at the airport was quite eventful. I thought that the need for police check points had pretty much gone away but, a little way into the journey there was a low key check point on the motorway. A couple of cars in front of us were stopped but we were waved through. Then on the opposite carriageway we witnessed the first rolling roadblock I have ever seen for real. As we got level with a lot of flashing blue lights, four police cars were bringing a car to a halt. The driver got out and was quickly held by a couple of policemen. Then we were past it and on our way to the City airport.
I dropped Sarah off and went to Belfast City centre to get some lunch and wait for my flight that does not leave until 17:00. When I get to Edinburgh I will have to drive to Sanquhar near Dumfries for a live about Rabbie Burns